Destructive Mind Control
Although the majority of counter cult ministries have generally approached cult apologetics from a doctrinal standpoint, more attention is beginning to be focused on the destructive aspects of thought reform mind control techniques.
Though commonly known to be used by such as groups as Scientology, Boston Church of Christ, etc, further research showed that the JW's, through the Watchtower newspaper and other doctrinal materials, uses the same techniques and achieves the same kind of condition as these other destructive cults.
Drawing on the classic study on brainwashing techniques as outlined by Robert Lifton, below we list the Eight Mind Control Criteria and corresponding evidence from the Watchtower. (We have more documentation which can be obtained upon request.)
1) Milieu Control (Control of communication - someone is in charge of what you hear and are exposed to in terms of information.)
"There is to be no partnership, no fellowship, no portion, no sharing with unbelievers. In other words, no association with them if one is to associate with God" (Watchtower, 2/15/60, p. 112).
2) Mystical Manipulation (Personal manipulation by a person or organization that creates a mystique around themselves, making them appear to know everything, or somehow have a unique position with God.)
"Showing respect for Jehovah's organization really resolves itself down to our attitude toward God's visible channel and the trust that we place in our proved, faithful brothers. If we have become thoroughly convinced that this is God's organization, that he is guiding and directing his people, then we shall not be unsettled by anything that happens" (Ibid, 5/1/57, p. 284).
3) Demand For Purity (This involves disowning anything that makes life complicated; seeking the pure truth to the abandonment of everything else.)
"Newly interested ones, then, should take a firm stand and not postpone matters by asking to be baptized and accepted into the congregation, or to share in presenting information from the platform in their Kingdom Halls, while still in the grip of nicotine or other harmful addiction. As the new order now draws very near, it is assuredly in harmony with God's Word to take the position that those unwilling to abandon any such harmful addictive practices do not qualify for our baptizing them as approved members of Jehovah's Christian congregation" (Ibid, 6/1/73, p. 340).
4) Cult Confession (This is a way of purging a member after he does something wrong, or what they think is wrong; you have to come to the leaders, elders or whatever, and confess openly.)
"If you personally are a ever a witness to serious wrongdoing on the part of a baptized member of the congregation or an unbaptized person regularly associated with it, loyalty to Jehovah and his son and love for your brothers should move you to bring the matter to the attention of the judicial committee. One who loves righteousness and is truly loyal to Jehovah God and Christ Jesus will courageously step forward and make known the sinful conduct and conscientiously testify the matter before the judicial committee when called on to do so" (Ibid, 9/1/81, p. 23).
5) Sacred Science (Their truth is the absolute truth. It is science - a philosophy that works. No other philosophy works. Everything is absolute, sacred and above questioning.)
"Yet there are some who point out that the organization has had to make adjustments before, and so they argue:
"This shows that we have to make up our own mind what to believe.' This is independent thinking! Why is it so dangerous? Such thinking is evidence of pride. And the Bible says: `Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.' (Prov. 16:18) If we get to thinking that we know better than the organization, we should ask ourselves: `Where did we learn the Bible truth in the first place? Would we know the way of truth if it had not been for the guidance from the organization? Really, can we get along without the direction of God's organization? No, we cannot," (Ibid, 1/15/83, p. 27).
6) Loading the Language (The use of thought-terminating cliches.)
"Jehovah poured out his spirit upon them and assigned them the responsibilities of serving as his sole visible channel, through whom alone spiritual instruction was to come. Those who recognize Jehovah's theocratic organization, therefore, must recognize and accept the appointment of the `faithful and discreet slave' and be submissive to it" (Ibid, 10/1/67, p. 590).
"No question about it. We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the scriptural guidances we need outside the `faithful and discreet slave' organization" (Ibid, 2/15/81, p. 19).
7) Doctrine Over Person (The subordination of human experience to doctrine. The doctrine is all that matters - it is irrelevant what you personally experience. If it doesn't fit their doctrine, then it is wrong.)
"The truths we are to publish are the ones provided through the discreet-slave organization, not some personal opinions contrary to what the slave has provided as timely food. We should meekly go along with the Lord's theocratic organization and wait for further clarification, rather than balk at the first mention of a thought unpalatable to us and proceed to quibble and mouth our criticisms and opinions as though they were worth more than the slave's provision of spiritual food. Theocratic ones will appreciate the Lord's visible organization and not be so foolish as to pit against Jehovah's reasoning and sentiment and personal feelings" (Ibid, 2/1/52 pp. 79-80).
8) Dispensing of Existence (This means the organization has the right to decide who should exist and who shouldn't; if you don't agree with them they decide you don't have the right to comment or speak your mind - that you don't have a right to life or recognition as a person.)
"We must hate in the truest sense, which is to regard with extreme and active aversion, to consider as loathsome, odious, filthy, to detest. Surely any haters of God are not fit to live on this beautiful earth" (Ibid, 10/1/52, p. 599).
"When a person persists in a way of badness after knowing what is right, when the bad becomes so ingrained that it is an inseparable part of his make-up, then in order to hate what is bad, a Christian must hate the person with whom the badness is inseparably linked" (Ibid, 7/15/61, p. 420).
In light of our ongoing research in the area of mind control we are able to more effectively address the heretofore unidentifiable fears and emotional problems of current and former members of the Jehovah's Witnesses.